From The Bottom To The Top: Class And Gender Struggle In Brontë’s Jane Eyre

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The Victorian era, which refers to the nineteenth century in the British history, was the period of industrial revolution, which gave birth to many changes in the British politics, economy and culture. It was in this period of time that class and gender were mostly on the foreground. And it was the women who suffered more than men from these class and gender-based cultural norms.

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre revolves around the title character’s struggle against class and gender oppressions as an orphan from her childhood till her adulthood. The protagonist is born into the Victorian society with double disadvantages as a female orphan. However, she does not fit into the Victorian concept of  “the Angel in the House”. While creating this kind of character, Brontë draws contrast between her protagonist and the other female characters throughout the novel. Jane’s cousins Eliza and Georgiana and her aunt Mrs. Reed at Gateshead; Miss Temple and Helen at Lowood; Adele and Blanche Ingram at Thornfield; her cousins Mary and Diana at Marsh End represent the Victorian concept of “woman”. Also, at each of her stations, let it be from either middle class or upper class, Jane encounters a man, who represents patriarchy. Her cousin John Reed at Gateshead, Mr. Brocklehurst at Lowood, Mr. Rochester at Thornfield, and Mr. Rivers at Marsh End all represent patriarchy. In her journey from Gateshead, Lowood, Thornfield, Marsh End to Ferndean, Jane goes against the grains of her period. She discerns that there is a false association between classes and virtues. She achieves getting over the class and gender boundaries in the end at Ferndean by climbing the ladder from bottom to the top.

 Thus, the aim of the study is to examine Jane Eyre’s progress in contrast to the Victorian models in the novel by taking into consideration the period’s concepts of class and gender.

Anahtar Kelimeler

the Victorian period, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, class, gender

Tam Metin:



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